Wednesday was a wonderful day. I spent it helping to bring a new baby into the world and it just doesn't get better than that.
My friend asked me to be her doula. She chose to have her baby at a birthing center and she and her husband wanted me there and it was great. I did learn that no matter how well you think you know someone when labor hits you just have no clue how this person will react to it. My friend chose a birthing center and a midwife because she's very anti-doctor and wanted to have as much control over the delivery and her body as the impending birth would allow. It was a family birth and her three older sons were there.
Now that you've got a little of the back story, here's how it played out. Remember that whole "I Love Lucy" episode when Lucy had a Little Ricky and Ricky, Fred and Ethel practiced how things would happen when Lucy said, "It's time"? Well Wednesday morning started out a lot like that. I'm walking out my door and notice that my friend's husband's truck is still in the driveway, then I see her middle son putting something in the van, I holler across the road, "Is your mom ok?" Middle son answers, "She's fine we're going to see Miss Vicky" Miss Vicky is the midwife. So I run across the road, while my two oldest are getting in our car. I see if it really is time, they tell me to go on and take the boys to school and my friend wanted to wait until I got my youngest son on the bus, and this is a crucial bit of info, his bus doesn't arrive until 7:45(file this time away for later). Ok I get back from taking the older boys to school, run in the house to tell my DH what's up, run back across the road and am told we're leaving now. OK, I run back home, grab my bag, forget my camera, I couldn't pack it ahead of time because the whole family uses it, but I forgot it. Anyway, I do remember to grab some caffiene in the form of a coke and triscuits. So I throw my stuff in their van, help my friend to the van, and start timing contractions. They are 45 seconds long, and about 3 mins apart. This is where I should tell you that we live in the boonies and it's a 45 minute drive to the birthing center, and it's the morning rush hour. So about 10 mins into the drive the contractions are two minutes apart and coming oh, a minute or a little bit longer apart. I'm starting to get concerned. We finally get off the highway and are on the expressway, we're going 70. Breathing is no longer helping my friend, trying to talk is not distracting. I was pretty sure we were going to be delivering the baby on the I-10 bridge. So we get closer, the contractions are a minute long, a minute apart. I'm trying to remember why I'm there instead of worrying about delivering a baby in the car on the side of the road and wondering to myself if the car seat is already buckled in or will it be easy to throw up front if necessary. So finally we get to the birthing center, the midwife hasn't arrived yet. The place is locked up, my friend starts getting just a little bit scared because all she had to do was just not have the baby until she arrived at the birthing center and she didn't have a plan B. It's approximately 8:00am.
Well her oldest son pages the midwife who just pulled into the parking lot, we get my friend into the birthing room. The midwife examines her and she's at 6. My friend is saying, "I want to push, I want to push", the midwife is saying "Not yet it's not time". My friend says, "You don't understand I never wanted to push with my other deliveries, I want to push." My friend gets down on the floor, I guess to get more comfortable, she's on all fours, trying to relieve some pressure, trying to brace herself through the contractions. I'm laying on the floor in front of her talking her through each contraction and wave of pain. She keeps saying, "I want to push", finally the midwife says "Push" and there was a head, it's exactly 8:24(now you know why that 7:45 time is important, had we waited one minute later to leave than we did, the baby would have been born on the side of the road). Then there were shoulders, and then there was a baby, and then there was me sobbing because it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. As soon as she had the baby, she picked him up and put him to her breast. He was nursing only moments after his birth, oh did I mention the baby was a boy? A beautiful, healthy, 8lb 14 oz baby boy. She sat on a birthing chair and started nursing, the umbilical cord was still attached and the placenta hadn't been passed yet. It was awesome for lack of a better choice of words. In a little while it was time to take care of business and pass all that stuff(for lack of a better word) and then my friend moved to the bed, the baby still at her chest, mom and baby skin to skin, the first two hours of this baby's life was exactly where he should have been, next to his mother, his skin touching her's, nursing. No one interfering, no one giving him a bath, no other hands touching him but his mother. It was one of those moments, one of those pure moments in life when there is nothing but good, nothing but pure joy. A moment that stays with a person forever. All of her older boys witnessed the birth and I was wondering how they would handle it and they were in awe and happy to have a little brother. It was such a gift to be a part of this experience. I've witnessed other births but none by a midwife in a homey atmosphere and none were natural. If I ever get pregnant again, I'm seriously considering this alternative because it felt so right, but maybe it felt right because she knew exactly what she wanted.
In less than 6 hours she and the baby and the rest of the family were home. We even stopped by her work so her coworkers could come out to the van and see the baby. How amazing is that?
She is my hero. I thought this would cure me of baby fever, now I want another baby more than ever. This is not a good thing.
Did I mention that I was my pjs because there was no time to change? Yes, I had on pajama bottoms when I took the boys to school. Kids can do it, why can't a 40-something mom do it too?